Executive summary of workshop report: Problems Abroad? Revisiting the Intervention Trap in an Era of Global Uncertainty
On October 6-7, 2016, the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal (CFPJ) hosted an emerging scholars workshop at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada entitled “Problems Abroad? Revisiting the Intervention Trap in an Era of Global Uncertainty.” The workshop itself was organized with invaluable support from the Canadian Department of National Defence’s (DND) Targeted Engagement Grant Program, the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, and Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and Faculty of Public Affairs. Included at the end of this report are the initial call for papers, workshop agenda, and participant biographies as appendices.
An initial call for papers early in 2016 resulted in approximately 75 paper submissions. 25 of the highest quality proposals were shortlisted and included in the workshop program. This two-day workshop featured 25 papers presented and discussed by 30 emerging scholars from Canada, the United States, as well as several European countries. The best papers have been selected for publication in an upcoming special issue of CFPJ in the summer of 2017. The papers presented at the workshop addressed a range of subjects relevant to Canadian foreign policy: the decision-making criteria of interveners, be they states (e.g., United States, Russia, China, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria), international organizations (e.g., United Nations, NATO, African Union, ECOWAS), or the regional dynamics of conflicts in crisis states (e.g., Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Sudan). Emerging scholars are either current PhD candidates or recent graduates (since 2010) from a recognized PhD program in the social sciences.
The purpose of this workshop was twofold: to evaluate the effectiveness of foreign intervention in ongoing conflict from a policy-relevant perspective, and to identify and engage with the next generation of innovators, leaders, and researchers in the field of international affairs. Designed specifically as an advanced training, learning, and networking opportunity for emerging scholars, this workshop featured their work to an audience of their peers, joined by senior academics from Canada’s leading international affairs institute and policy specialists with experience across a range of policy and disciplinary domains. This structure was consciously designed to deliver crucial feedback and guidance on substantive research issues and to provide a broader forum for improving the policy-relevance of advanced social science research.
The rest of this report proceeds in two parts. The first part outlines the workshop proceedings, as the funded project was divided into eight thematic panels addressing the findings of each emerging scholar’s papers, critical feedback from the panel’s chairs and discussants, and relevant comments provided by the audience during the question and answer period. The second part addresses key takeaways from the workshop: which of DND’s priorities did this workshop touch on, what lessons do the papers teach us about policy implications for Canada, what were this project’s other summary outcomes, and how did workshop participants react to a survey feedback form following the two days of the workshop.
Read the full report here.
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